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Courtesy Susan De Vries/Brownstoner

10 under-the-radar gay history sites in NYC

Hidden nods to LGBT history abound in Gotham—here are a few you might want to check out.

By Evan Ross Katz
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New York City is a famous bastion of queer culture but there are also less well-known aspects of LGBT culture and history in the city. If you have already visited The Stonewall Innhere are 10 pieces of history hidden in plain sight. From the homes of influential figures and artists, to the forgotten sites of groundbreaking protests. 

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Gay Landmarks in NYC

Courtesy: Saskia Scheffer

The Lesbian Herstory Archives

Part museum, part community center, the Lesbian Herstory Archives, located in Park Slope, is dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of lesbian history, and contains the largest collection of materials by and about lesbians. Current exhibits include “Queer Covers: Lesbian Survival Literature,” which features covers from the institution's collection of lesbian pulp novels, and a look at the life of Audre Lorde.
484 14th St, Park Slope

Julio Rivera Corner
Julio Rivera Corner
Courtesy Christopher D. Brazee/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

The Julio Rivera Corner

This street commemorates the life of Julio Rivera, a gay Puerto Rican man who was brutally attacked and murdered at a nearby schoolyard in 1990. His death became the first gay hate crime to be tried in New York State. Councilman Daniel Dromm called the mobilization efforts after Rivera’s death “Queens’s Stonewall.”
78th St & 37th Ave, Jackson Heights

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Courtesy Village Preservation

James Baldwin Historic Plaque

This historic plaque was first unveiled in October 2015 at the former residence of prolific author James Baldwin, who lived there in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Both a vital voice for the civil rights movement and an inspirational figure for the then-emerging gay rights movement, Baldwin’s imprint is everlasting.
81 Horatio St, West Village

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Green-Wood Cemetery

A national historic landmark, this cemetery hosts some incredibly historic LGBTQ individuals including composers Leonard Bernstein and Fredd Ebb, Paul Jabara, co-writer of “It’s Raining Men,” and Emma Stebbins, sculptor of the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.

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first gay picket 04
first gay picket 04
Photograph: Courtesy Randy Wicker

Site of U.S. Army Building picket

It doesn’t get much more historic than this site, which 55 years ago played host to the first known public demonstration on gay rights, four years before the Stonewall Riots. Back then, it was the army's induction center (with a different address of 39 Whitehall St.) The reason for the protest—which remains a hot button issue decades later—was to protest the military’s discriminatory practices against the LGBT community.
3 New York Plaza, Financial District

Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth
Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth
Courtesy Christopher D. Brazee/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project/www.nyclgbtsites.org

The Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth

What is now the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), the nation’s largest agency serving thousands of LGBTQ+ youth, began its life in 1983 occupying the entirety of the third floor of this building. It was here that the Harvey Milk School, a public high school designed for LGBTQ+ students, was first devised.
12 East 23rd Street, Nomad

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Courtesy Susan De Vries/Brownstoner

Truman Capote residence

With a facade restoration completed in 2018, now is the perfect time to catch a look at the one-time dwellings of author Truman Capote, who lived in the garden apartment for a decade, and wrote two of his most seminal works—Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood—will residing here.
70 Willow Street, Brooklyn Heights

Transgender House
Transgender House
Courtesy Christopher D. Brazee/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project/www.nyclgbtsites.org

Transy House

A safe space mean to give transgender individuals a refuge from daily objectification and harassment, Transy House was first established in 1995 by trans women Rusty Mae Moore and Chelsea Goodwin. For 13 years the home catered to the community’s most vulnerable, including at one time pioneering LGBTQ+ rights activist Sylvia Rivera.
214 16th Street, Chelsea

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Angel of the Waters

Though many New Yorkers know this beloved sculpture, many don’t think of it from the perspective of the woman who made it: Emma Stebbins. The lesbian sculptor’s work became New York City’s first ever major piece of public art commissioned from a woman in 1873.
72 Terrace Dr, Central Park

Mattachine/DOB Offices
Mattachine/DOB Offices
Courtesy Christopher D. Brazee/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project/www.nyclgbtsites.org

Mattachine Society Office

Just three years after the Stonewall uprising in 1972, the Mattachine Society, a group formed during the rise of the Gay Liberation Movement with a mission of "serving the needs of all homosexuals,” moved its office to bustling Christopher Street, where it continued to offer its services including counseling as well as helping LGBT folks to connect with physicians, attorneys and more.
59 Christopher Street, West Village

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